[LMB] Quaddie brains

Rachel anglerfish at gmail.com
Wed Sep 11 19:57:27 BST 2013


>
> From: Jason Long
> If she
> had shown the Quaddies with equal dexterity in upper and lower hands, that
> would be less plausible because the brain really doesn't have enough power
> to do that without taking resources responsible for some other part of the
> body like the legs or lips. Of course, that would have been waved off as
> part of the genetic manipulation that produced the Quaddies to begin with,
> but the suspension of disbelief begins to fray for those knowledgeable in
> the field.
>

Is it really that cut and dried? Are you really that sure? We don't have a
finite number of neurons that we are stuck with throughout life, especially
if you're starting from birth. Maybe quaddies have less pruning in the
motor and sensory hand areas than we do. British cabbies have larger
hippocampuses (hippocampi?) than others presumably because they practice
the encoding of spatial information more often--are you committed to the
idea that that is at the expense of other brain areas? I am not
ambidextrous at all--my left hand becomes pretty useless in many fine motor
coordination situations--but I know people who are more dextrous than I am
with my right hand with both of their hands. The representation of a
violinist's fingers in their sensory and motor areas are more robust than
mine are. Does that necessarily mean that I benefit elsewhere?

It seems a pleasant idea that we start with an equal level of some brain
quality and we just partition it out in individual ways, but I'm not
convinced that it's true. Further, if the quaddies got to have dextrous
lower hands at the expense of something else, would we even notice that
loss?


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